Like most other genres, there is a long precedent of marginalizing queer characters in mainstream comics. From 1954-2000s, the Comics Code Authority regulated publications to protect the innocence of young audiences by banning violence and other graphic content, including “illicit sex relations.” This, in part, led to the underground comix movement of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, which championed hippies, freaks, and all manner of outsiders. Several notable LGBTQ publications include Gay Comix and Wimmen’s Comix.
Although the Comics Code eventually dissolved, queer characters in mainstream comics remain few and far between. Some comics trailblazed the way by breaking norms of gender and sexuality, such as the character Desire in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (1986-1996). More recently, titles from Image Comics like The Wicked and the Divine and Saga feature several queer characters and queer characters of color. While mainstream, serial comics continue to be marketed by large publishers to audiences they perceive to be largely heterosexual, the demand for queer content has created opportunities for small publishers and independent artists to put their work into the world. The popularity of online platforms like websites, blogs, and Tumblr make self-publishing and disseminating content much easier! It allows queer folks to share their experiences, stories, and art to a wider audience. We’ve gathered a range of webcomics featuring queer characters for your perusal. This list is by no means exhaustive, but we wanted to highlight some gems from queer webcomics past and present.
Erika Moen’s work spans this divide with DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Diary Comic, which ran from 2003 to 2009, and her current series Oh Joy Sex Toy (NSFW), a wonderful look at the wide world of sex, from toys to education, terminology and consent. Yu + Me: dream by Megan Rose Gedris, begun in 2004 and finished in 2010, takes the cliche premise of meeting a lover in a dream and turns it on its head. While Gedris and Moen have been publishing since the early aughts, newcomers like Trans Girl Next Door and Manic Pixie Nightmare Girls have been active on Tumblr since 2013. These series depict trans lives, from the expectations and double standards we put on feminine folks to plain ol’ oppression in a funny, cute, and authentic manner. Also on Tumblr, Queermo’s Journey, as described by the creator: “Life is confusing. One queer dude’s attempts to muddle through it.” Amen. If you’re looking for gorgeous art to get lost in, look no further than O Human Star and Princess Princess. Khaos Komix is a world to get lost in, a coming of age epic following Steve, Amber, Tom, and Charlie, as well as a series of NSFW side stories. Khaos Komix artist Tab also covers many identities, embodiments and forms in their other works such as Fukkit the Demisexual Demigod and Vlad the Vegan Vanilla Vampire. All these and more are available below.
Find a new favorite? Or do you draw a comic you would like to see featured on the GLBT Library Blog? If there’s anything we missed we would love to hear about it, feel free to leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Without further ado, our Queer Webcomic Picks: